A peak into how RAD5 Tech Hub is fostering innovation and collaboration across the Ecosystem

A peak into how RAD5 Tech Hub is fostering innovation and collaboration across the Ecosystem

Situated in Southeast Nigeria, RAD5 Tech Hub is a major contributor to the region’s growing tech scene. They are helping local innovators and entrepreneurs turn their ideas into meaningful tech solutions. That much is evident.

Last week, we had a chat with John Nnanna, Co-founder of RAD5 Tech Hub, a member Hub of the Innovation Support Network, to highlight some of the impact that the Hub has accrued in recent years and what the future looks like for them. 

We know RAD5 Tech Hub for the immense work it is doing in the innovation ecosystem. What areas of innovation are you most focused on supporting?

At RAD5 Tech Hub, we concentrate on fostering innovation in vital technology sectors, including Edtech, e-commerce, fintech, entertainment, health tech, and business digitization. These industries hold immense promise for driving economic growth and social progress, both locally in Nigeria and beyond. We are deeply committed to supporting startups and initiatives contributing to the advancement of these sectors and the overall technology ecosystem.

What kind of support do you offer these startups? 

At RAD5 Tech Hub, we provide a comprehensive range of support and resources to startups within our network and the Nigerian ecosystem at large. This includes mentorship from industry experts, access to technical talent, funding opportunities, co-working space, networking events, educational workshops, and legal and administrative support. Our goal is to equip startups with the necessary tools and guidance to accelerate their growth and success.

How do you measure the success of the startups/innovations you support?

We measure the success of the startups and innovations we support through various metrics, including revenue growth, user acquisition, market penetration, partnership access, and social impact. Tracking these key performance indicators enables us to evaluate the effectiveness of our support programs and identify opportunities for further improvement.

What are some of the most impactful innovations to come out of your hub so far?

Some notable innovations that have emerged from our hub include SchoolSuite: A comprehensive school management software serving over 2,000 students and facilitating e-learning initiatives, Chooya: A hybrid search engine platform offering both online and offline access to information about traditional markets for locals, Celot: A popular flight booking and travel education app with a user base exceeding 12 million on Google Play alone, Mayvibe: An online music distribution and monetization platform empowering emerging African artists, LindaSalesPro: A mobile CRM and marketing solution tailored for small and medium businesses (SMBs) in Nigeria and GroupKash: A mobile app designed to simplify group financial management tasks.

Awesome! These are really cool solutions. How do you identify and select startups that you support?

We operate a startup studio model, creating new tech startups from scratch using our own ideas, team, and resources. Through our in-house building process, new ventures are developed. Successful ventures undergo external validation, including research and feasibility studies, before building the MVP. Our goal is to support at least two startups annually. We also extend our support to external startups via programs like the African Startups Investment Readiness Platform (ASIR-P). We prioritize startups with innovative ideas, scalable solutions, and a dedication to effecting positive change.

Do you have programs specifically targeted at the challenges unique to startups within the Nigerian Ecosystem?

Yes, we have developed specialized programs tailored to address the unique challenges faced by Nigerian startups. One such program is the African Startup Investment Readiness Platform (ASIR-P), designed to empower entrepreneurs with investment readiness training and skills needed to attract investment for their businesses – https://asirp.org.ng

How do you foster a collaborative and supportive community among startups within your Hubs?

We foster collaboration and support among entrepreneurs and innovators through various initiatives. We provide physical co-working spaces for our startups to collaborate and network. Additionally, we organize community events such as hackathons and networking meetups. We offer mentorship programs where experienced entrepreneurs provide guidance to startups.

Do you partner with other Hubs, academia, or investors both inside and outside Nigeria?

Yes, we actively collaborate with other innovation hubs, institutions, and investors to strengthen our support ecosystem. For example, we have partnered with AfriLabs and a pool of local investors to secure funding and support for training and supporting startups and SMEs through the African Startup Investment Readiness Platform (ASIR-P) project. We also work closely with leaders of innovation hubs within the ISN and AfriLabs network to offer mentorship opportunities to startups.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the Nigerian innovation ecosystem? What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities?

The Nigerian innovation ecosystem is dynamic, with significant opportunities for growth. Challenges include limited access to funding and infrastructure constraints. However, there is immense potential in Nigeria’s youthful population and growing digital economy. By addressing challenges and capitalizing on opportunities, Nigeria can become a leading hub for innovation in Africa.

What emerging technologies do you see having the biggest impact on innovation across Nigeria in the coming years?

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, data science, Internet of Things, and renewable energy will have a significant impact on innovation in Nigeria. These technologies can revolutionize various sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, finance, and education, enhancing efficiency and scalability.

And how is your Hub adapting its approach to support this?

We are investing in training programs focused on emerging technologies, fostering collaboration, and forming strategic partnerships. We are also exploring initiatives to promote inclusivity and diversity within our ecosystem.

What role do you think Hubs can play in driving positive social and economic change in Nigeria?

Innovation hubs serve as catalysts for innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration. They provide resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities, contributing to job creation and skills development. By nurturing a vibrant ecosystem, innovation hubs can address societal challenges and build a prosperous future for Nigeria.

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